Corriveau, Art. Housewrights. Penguin Books, 2002.
Reason read: April has a week dedicated to librarians.
The early 1900s. It is an age when nature is stepping aside for the steamroller that is science. A father with twins so identical even he can’t tell them apart shows up in eight-year-old Lily’s Vermont yard, looking for carpentry work. Unabashed and unconventional, Lily takes to the boys and they can’t help falling in love with her as only little boys can when a girl can climb a tree faster or shows no fear diving into a pond from a great height.
Fast forward ten years and one of the twins, Oren, comes calling. He has never forgotten Lily. Eighteen years old, Lily now works as a librarian in the same town she never left. Did she stay where she was just so Oren or Ian could find her? Oren came back first. They marry, build a house and settle into the community as husband and wife. Soon after brother Ian arrives in town after surviving the horrors of the First Great War. He is a shell-shocked sleepwalking mess and Lily feels the old pull towards him; with Oren’s blessing she welcomes Ian into their home. The three set up house as if time has stood still and they are once again children, locked in the play of deep friendship. Only now with adult alcohol to go with the games and music and loud laughter. It isn’t long before their unconventional arrangement becomes the talk of the town.
More than a story about conformity and appearances, Housewrights is a lesson in identity and acceptance. It is about changing with the times and making peace with the past.
Quote to quote, “She also knew not to trust everything men said when they were drinking” (p 4). Good girl. I should note, there were many, many more passages I could quote. This just set up a premonition perfectly.
Book trivia: Housewrights has a pretty accurate account of how maple syrup is produced and how a house brought from a catalog is put together.
Author fact: Housewrights is Art Corriveau’s first novel. It should be made into a movie.
Playlist: “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” “The Wedding March,” and “The Gentlemen’s Waltz.”
Nancy said: Pearl did not say much about Housewrights.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Libraries and Librarians” (p 138).
Harger, Elaine. Which Side Are You On? Seven Social Responsibility Debates in American Librarianship, 1990 – 2015. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2016.
Full disclosure: I am a librarian so I read this with some bias. Also, as a librarian I took my time with this one.
Librarians do not view the world as unbiased, politically neutral robots. Some might expect we would or even should. But, we don’t. We find the facts, examine the evidence, chose a side and stick to our guns come hell or high water. It’s what we do. Elaine Harger has identified seven different debates to illustrate the inner workings of the governance of the American Library Association Council:
- Debating “the Speaker”
- Anti-apartheid boycotts
- Relationships with outside sponsors/corporations
- Climate change
Confessional: this book made me:
- Borrow Which Side Are You On? The story of a song by George Ella Lyon because I leanred of the song from Natalie Merchant.
- Look up The Speaker on YouTube (Harger includes a link)
Reason read: an Early Review book from LibraryThing.
Author fact: Like Nancy Pearl, Elaine Harger is a Seattle, Washington based librarian.
Book trivia: each chapter is punctuated by a really cool collage created by the author.